LFS REPORTS

Commuting a Company Pension Plan

Before you retire from a company that offers a pension plan, you’ll need to decide whether to leave the pension with the company or take it with you (called “commuting”).

If you decide to commute the pension, it will have to be transferred to a life income fund (LIF) if it’s locked in. If you decide to keep the pension with the company, you would begin to receive income payments at retirement as defined by the plan.

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Critical Illness: What Everyone’s Talking About

Critical illness insurance is a relatively new type of coverage now available in Canada. Dr Marius Barnard, a cardiologist from South Africa developed it in the late 1980s. Dr Barnard found that many heart transplant patients were not recovering as well as expected after their surgery. There was no medical reason for this. Dr Barnard took a closer look into the personal situations of his patients and came to the realization that many were in financial ruin as a result of their illnesses.

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Dealing with Changes in Employment

Hopefully you'll never need to manage through such an unpleasant contingency but there is always a chance that you or someone you love might face a layoff in the future, particularly during this time of economic uncertainty.

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Diversifying Across Borders Not Just Asset Class

Most people understand what diversification is and how important it is. Most people consider themselves diversified if they are invested in different asset classes, such as bonds, equities, resources and precious metals. Another opportunity which is available is diversifying currencies.

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Don't Be a Lemming

Canada’s economy may be in better shape, but you won’t hear any cheering from Canadian investors. The benchmark S&P/TSX composite index has suffered from a weakening dollar and drops in commodity prices. If there was ever a time to dump your equities and build a cabin in the woods with a two-year supply of canned goods, this must be it, right?

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Moving Your Folks

Often, the most difficult decisions are those that must be made during a time of crisis. Downsizing, clearing clutter, getting organizing, simplifying, whatever you call it, it's easier to do when broken down into manageable tasks. Getting your own house in order is difficult enough; the real challenge comes when you're faced with helping your parents downsize.

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Fool's Gold

With global stocks getting hammered by fears of Europe’s worsening debt crisis and an absence of economic growth, many investors are counting on gold to insulate their portfolios and deliver steady gains. Unfortunately during the latest round of market volatility, gold has suddenly reversed course. If there is one thing we’ve learned about gold in recent years it’s this: It is not a haven investment.

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Give the gift that lasts a lifetime

Everyone enjoys buying gifts for their children and grandchildren. You buy toys, candy, bicycles, clothing, movies and video games, etc.   Unfortunately, these things are soon worn out, consumed, outgrown or forgotten. There is one gift, however, that won’t be forgotten; that you can be sure they will remember for the rest of their lives. A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).    

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Group RESPs Buyer Beware

Many Canadians, have heard that RESPs are a good way of helping to pay for those big tuition bills down the line. Contributions build tax-free and along with federal grants that can add thousands of dollars, RESPs can produce quite a nest egg over time. It’s not unusual for a new parent to add an extra burden by signing up for an RESP early, unfortunately not all RESPs are created equal.

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The Growth in Charitable Giving in Canada

Charitable giving has become increasingly popular in Canada within the last decade.  Many people are unsure of what a planned gift is and how it can fit into their financial plan.  If there is a charity or foundation that has a special place in your heart and you have an interest in offsetting current or future tax obligations, planned giving using life insurance is a strategy that can work for you.

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Have the government make your down payment for you

Many Canadians would like to own their own home, but feel the need to come up with a larger down payment before taking that big step. What many people don’t realize is they can utilize existing government programs to essentially have the government make that down payment for them.

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How Long Will YOU Be Remembered?

Have you ever heard of Abraham Lincoln? How about Christopher Columbus? Almost definitely the answer is yes, and you could probably list a few things they did in their lives. Now what is the name of your great-great grandfather and what is something he accomplished? If you are like most people you can’t answer those two questions. The sad reality is most of us are going to be forgotten at some point in the future. Whether it is 50 years from now or 100 years from now, eventually the people who know us will be gone and the stories that are told about us will become fewer and fewer.

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How to curb overspending in retirement

Overspending in retirement can be a real problem, particularly for many middle-income families.

Almost one-third of retired Canadians are worried that they'll run out of money over the long term, even though they're generally satisfied with the current quality of retirement, according to a recent study from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. And they’re probably right to fret, suggests the National Bureau of Economic Research. Although much attention has been paid to how much wealth people should aim to accumulate prior to retirement, NBER had a look at the evolution of that wealth during retirement — right up until death.

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